On March 8 or 9, 2016 (depending on your timezone), the sun, moon and Earth will temporarily form a straight line in space. The moon’s shadow will fall on Earth. Those within the shadow’s path – mainly over the waters of the Pacific Ocean – will see a total eclipse of the sun. At the March 8-9 eclipse, the best spots to watch this total solar eclipse from land are the various islands in Indonesia, which reside on the path of totality. Eclipse fans – many of whom have seen multiple total solar eclipses – are waiting now, preparing to watch the eclipse. If you could join them during the eclipse, you’d experience what you see in Fred Espenak’s photo above … and, of course, much more.
A much larger swath of the world gets to see varying degrees of a partial solar eclipse. Hawaii and Alaska see the partial eclipse at late afternoon on March 8, while south and eastern Asia, Korea, Japan, north and western Australia see it on the morning of March 9. That’s not nearly as dramatic … but also very interesting and beautiful.
Bottom line: A photo by eclipse expert Fred Espenak of a group watching a 2006 eclipse.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.